Wednesday, May 21, 2003

"we're going to treat this like a prison break, let me see you scream and shake"

The streets are glistening and there is even a glow to the moist air if you catch it at the right angle, right under a streetlamp, the drizzle, each tiny little drop absorbing that light and refracting it in a way, that if you are in a good mood will set you in an even better mood. And so was the case, a wee bit earlier as I walked from the Smith and 9th stop to the Red Hook loft to gather more of my shit to bring to Williamsburg. In spurts. I make occasional little trips, carrying a backpackful of stuff because the idea and the actual act of hauling heavy ass luggage all the way to the subway, up the stairs, fitting on a busy train, and switching lines with a huge bag that makes you groan like an old man is not fun, not fun at all.

I am still working at The Strand, making the little bucks, but not really doing that much work either. Talking to cool co-workers, customers, dead novelists, and people from my past. Yesterday, James Glisson came into the store from two or so years ago, and we chatted it up. The day before, Matthew Sharpe, an old professor, checked out the short stories and told me that he's glad I am okay, that he was worried about me when I got kicked out. And I hug Whitman books that come my way. I press them to my chest and say Yes. He's not alone. I take long breaks on the clock and read passages from anything, from Anasis Nin's fifth volume of her diary, which I want to buy very soon, and I sigh, yes, yes, yes -- words are what I live for. Words and smiles and good tunes and bodies in motion, mine and yours. I am thinking of purchasing a cheap laptop tomorrow even though, I don't have the money to, but I want one, I miss writing and I hate writing things by hand, I just don't do it, and buying things you want but don't have money for are what credit cards were made for.

But yeah, work is usually more fun than a low wage job should be. It's the people, stupid. I work with people whose knowledge and intelligence sometimes wows me, and they are nice. I don't think I am going to get it on with David, even though he has made many innuendos that he likes me, because he is what you would call "sensitive" and has already gotten upset by nothings I have said in jest, so I have been gently talking about other boys I like and trying to foster the gay-male friendship I have always wanted, and it's happening which makes me very happy.

I am outrageously in love with the place I am staying and soon will need to start looking for another place to live once Jeff gets back. There is a good burrito place by me and a White Castle! Eating at White Castle is such a novel thing for me. I ate there for the first time ever just a few days ago. I had always heard of "White Castle," being dropped as a cultural reference in so many things, or at least two that still stick with me: an epidose of Cheers and that Beastie Boys line about "White Castle in Brookllyn" which I think is from "Brass Monkey". But yeah, I get giddy about White Castle. It is this shared cultural reference that I am now in on. Standing there, waiting for my six tiny cheeseburgers, I felt a fleeting sense of enlightenment, that yes, this is what it is all about. I am connected to it all now. My body moving into nooks and crannies all over this country. I was there, at the White Castle in Brooklyn, and I am still working on trying to describe the feeling of joy produced by just standing in a place that occupies so much space within our American culture, that maybe I was in that space too, or that salvation for all eternity is not what it is about, the spirtual struggle, I mean, but it is about establishing as many connections as possible, with people, things, all of it, and that solves the whole life after death question. It renders it a moot point, the wrong question produced by an ideology that we step out of in these connections. And I had a similar experience when I was younger. My sister and I were amazed by stoping at a Circle K somewhere in the midwest, and we wandered it with a reverential awe like it was the Grand Canyon, exclaiming that it was a Circle K, as if by the declarations, we could make it more believable to ourselves. This was right after we had discovered two little lads by the names of Bill and Ted who spent time at a Circle K. My mom still thinks we were very weird about the Circle K thing, but it was connecting ourselves to this culture in a major way, a way comprable in visuals to when Bill and Ted travel through time, flying through all those electric tunnels. That is what happened then, those years ago, and what happened this week at White Castle, a sense of connectedness to the world. Not a death of individuality to a homogenous culture, but a sublimation of that egoistic urge to the idea that there is this great big sprawling thing, that you are not a part of, but that you actually are this big sprawling thing. Paul Outka, while talking about Whitman (not about White Castle, though they do both begin with 'W'), said something along these lines that I think of from time to time. In reference to the poem "Compost" about your body as soil, he said that as long as you don't think of yourself as distinct from the Earth, you can never die. He, of course, worded it with a power that the idea is still with me today. But, you get the idea, or at least I did, waiting there in White Castle. It's all about outlook. Really.

The burgers were damn good for the price they cost, too.

Also, Peaches didn't happen. Let's not talk about it. Pop did. Saw lots of New College kids. I have been drinking beer like it is going out of style. And Monday, I danced for the first time in New York. I have danced at other places here in New York, but this was dancing. I was way out of control, way losing myself to that big sprawling thing and it felt good. Danced to Led Zepplin, David Bowie, Dolly Parton, and lots of eighties hits at The Cock, which was way more fun and way less sleezy that I expected. I even got my ass grabbed by the boy I was madly in love with and sneeking peeks at all night. Too bad Niki's a maniac and dragged me out of the bar once she lost her coat, and too bad there is that thing called work the next moring at nine thirty.

But New York is treating me pretty good these days. I am going to apply for a job at a certain temp agency, following the advice of Jason Grimste of all people. Oh, and I am still madly in love with the Yeah Yeah Yeah's. The album is all I listen to still, particularly two songs though. "Y Control" and "Black Tongue". I want to write pages about them, but that will have to wait.

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